- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 1, 2009

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — American International Group Inc. will receive additional federal assistance of up to $30 billion as part of a revamped government bailout, according to media reports Sunday that cited unnamed sources.

The new funding, the fourth government rescue of AIG since September, is intended to support the New York-based insurer as the company is expected to announce $60 billion in quarterly losses early Monday.

Once one of the world’s largest insurers, AIG already has received $150 billion in loans from the government. In return, the government has taken an 80 percent stake in the insurer.

Under the new deal, the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve would provide about $30 billion in fresh capital to the insurer, lower the interest rate on a $60 billion loan and ease the terms of a $40 billion preferred-share investment.

The $30 billion would not be injected immediately but would be provided as a standby line of equity that AIG could tap as its losses mount, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

AIG will repay much of the $40 billion it owes the Federal Reserve with equity stakes in two AIG overseas units — Asia-based American International Assurance Co. and American Life Insurance Co., which operates in 50 countries. Repayment originally was supposed to be made in cash with interest, the Journal reported.

In addition, AIG will securitize $5 billion to $10 billion in debt, backed with life insurance assets, to further reduce its debt burden. And the $60 billion Federal Reserve credit facility AIG received in November will be reduced to $25 billion, the Journal said.

AIG already has drawn down about $38 billion of those funds.

An AIG spokesman was not available for comment. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which is handling the government loan, and the Treasury Department did not return requests for comment Sunday afternoon.

The company’s board was scheduled to meet Sunday to vote on the revised bailout.

Major credit-rating agencies already have signed off on the deal. Without the support of the credit-rating agencies, AIG would have faced crippling cuts to its ratings.

AIG has been forced to seek more help because of a combination of factors, including the recession and its falling stock price, now well under $1. Perhaps its biggest problem has been that asset sales that were supposed to help the company pay back government loans aren’t happening, in part because the credit crisis that initially landed AIG in trouble last summer also is preventing would-be buyers from getting financing to complete such deals.

As of Feb. 13, AIG had sold interests in nine businesses.

In November, the U.S. government restructured previous loans provided to AIG, giving the company about $150 billion in total as part of a rescue package to help the insurer remain in business amid the worsening credit crisis. That package replaced earlier loans, including the original $85 billion lent in September, after it became apparent the insurer needed more funds.

Problems at AIG did not come from its traditional insurance operations, but instead from its financial services units, and primarily its business insuring mortgage-backed securities and other risky debt against default.

Shares of AIG closed at 42 cents on Friday. The stock, which traded at $49.50 a year ago, has lost nearly all of its value since the market meltdown began in September.

Associated Press writer Kimberly S. Johnson in Detroit contributed to this report.

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